Bonding with Bond, Day 8: Diamonds Are Forever

Community Manager Ryan Fujitani is watching all of the James Bond films in order.

After relinquishing the Bond throne to George Lazenby for one film, Sean Connery makes his return to the role in Diamonds Are Forever. Read on to see my reaction to the latest installment.

Diamonds Are Forever

Wow. With so much to talk about, where do I begin? Diamonds Are Forever was by far my least favorite Bond film to this point, and I don't mind saying that right up front. Everything, from the dialogue to the choice of locale to the Bond girl, were, in my opinion, subpar to the rest of the series. Even Connery himself, who hasn't been the same Bond to me since he first blew me away with his bravado and slickness in Dr. No, seems to walk through the part nonchalantly. He isn't James Bond so much as he's just a dude who happens to be the main character. And that's sad.

Furthermore, what in the world happened to Connery in the four years since he made You Only Live Twice? He'll always be the mighty Sean Connery, but in Diamonds, his hair is graying, he's gained some weight, and he doesn't have the same sparkle in his eye. Maybe the advent of drab 70s fashion had something to do with it, or maybe he spent too many late nights partying it up with his groupies. Seeing him appear for the first time on screen in Diamonds, I was reminded of former NBA star Shawn Kemp, who finished a season cut early by a player strike looking fine, but returned the next year looking like Big Daddy Kane's reflection in a funhouse mirror.

So let's start at the beginning. I cannot express to you the exasperation I felt upon seeing that Blofeld had not only lost the eye scar this time, but decided to take on the appearance of Mr. Henderson, Bond's first contact in You Only Live Twice, who received a knife in the back and, presumably, died. Did they simply assume I would have forgotten? Or did they think that all my concerns should have been put to rest, simply because they introduced the idea that Blofeld had gotten cosmetic surgery and found a way to clone himself? This is all even before the opening credits roll, people.

So Bond sends Blofeld "to Hell" in that opening sequence, but of course we know that's not the last we'll see of him. It turns out the Blofeld Bond killed was a clone (of course), and the real Blofeld has assumed the identity of a reclusive Las Vegas hotel owner, and he's holed up in the hotel penthouse with yet another clone (with his very own cloned cat); by this point, I'd pretty much given up on the movie. When Blofeld finally "dies", we don't even see it, so who knows if he's going to show up again, maybe next time as Dr. No, or Pussy Galore, or Hulk Hogan. And I didn't even talk about Blofeld's narrow cross-dressing escape a la Mrs. Doubtfire...

The cutesy names are back in spades... in Diamonds. The main Bond girl's name is Tiffany Case, but there's also a brief appearance from a Plenty O'Toole, as well as two gymnast-assassins named Bambi and Thumper (are they serious?). And Tiffany is the only one who's passable; the others are all terrible actresses. Terrible! I almost got the feeling they drove to Vegas, picked up a few girls off the street, and said, "Hey, wanna be eye candy for the new Bond film?" To be fair, the men aren't much better (Mr. Willard Whyte in particular).

There were just too many things I just couldn't accept or comprehend about Diamonds are Forever. Bond balancing a car on two wheels, a voice masking device, the oddness of Blofeld's two homosexual hitmen (one of whom eerily resembles a white, human version of Rowlf from the Muppets), Blofeld's inexplicable refusal to kill Bond on several convenient occasions, etc. I'm curious to know exactly how much of this nonsense was in any of Ian Fleming's books. Also, I expected to enjoy the campiness of the sillier Bond films, but after having seen this, I'm starting to wonder if that'll be the case at all. I may just emerge from the Roger Moore years more frustrated and befuddled than entertained, and this worries me.

My favorite line: "You handle those cubes like a monkey handles coconuts." Uh, what?

My favorite moment: When Bond escapes from a poorly devised plan to bury him in the desert and shows up at Blofeld's headquarters in the middle of the ocean, what does Blofeld say? "Put him in the brig!" And "the brig" turns out to be a storage room with a hatch in the middle of the floor, allowing Bond to escape and wreak havoc with a crane.

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Adam Specht

Yup. It's basically the worst Bond ever.

You pretty much had the same reaction I did when first watching this colossal turd. To me, the most offensive thing about the film is that it basically retcons OHMSS. Bond is pissed off and wants Blofeld dead, but appears to have completely forgotten that Blofeld murdered his wife (by way of Irma Bunt, of course). Not once is Tracy mentioned nor are any of the events in OHMSS.

The only reason Connery came back is because the head of United Artists essentially handed Connery a blank check and said, "Name your price," which he did. Adjusted for inflation, Connery got about $20 million to star in this piece of garbage.

And yes, Connery is terrible in it. He got bribed to come back and it shows in his performance. He's tubby and disinterested, and coasts his way through the entire movie. The movie itself is crap, but Connery deserves his fair share of criticism. While he'll always be the definitive Bond, Diamonds are Forever has tarnished his legacy a bit, I'd say.

I'd suggest getting comfortable, Ryan. Diamonds are Forever pretty much sets the tone for the Roger Moore years. If last week was Heaven for you, this coming week will pretty much be Hell.

Oct 28 - 05:07 PM


Chris Moore

This was another "lower half" Bond movie for me, but this one ranks closer to the middle than You Only Live Twice. Connery literally had to carry this one.

Oct 28 - 05:08 PM

Windows V

Sam Vu

Hang in there, dude! Just eleven more days and eleven more crapfests till you get to the awesomeness that is [i]GoldenEye[/i].

Oct 28 - 05:10 PM

Geoff O.

Love Stallion

My favorite line: "...the oddness of Blofeld's two homosexual hitmen (one of whom eerily resembles a white, human version of Rowlf from the Muppets)...."

I almost fell out of my chair laughing.

Oct 28 - 05:37 PM

Russ K.

Russ Kinter

Hi Ryan,
You asked how much of the movie's nonsense is in the book.
I read the book and saw the movie in the theaters when I was a teenager, so that oughta tell ya how much has maybe slipped out of the memory banks.
With that qualification, the only things similar between the book and the movie were:
1. James Bond
2. Tiffany Case
3. Part of the plot was set in Las Vegas and was about diamond smuggling
but for entirely different reasons -no killer satellite.
4. Maybe the homosexual killers, but the brain cells are on the fence about that.

Russ K

Oct 28 - 05:42 PM

inactive user

Jared King

I'd still see it, I'll just lower the bar. A lot. Hope you guys saw It's the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown. Because I was watching the classic while you "got a rock."

Does the title have a tatoo like style to it. " Diamonds are Forever man!"

What about "Batman Forever". Another "I got the title while I was high" moment.

Oct 28 - 05:51 PM


Chris Kubat

Well call me crazy, but I like this movie. Sure, it has it's flaws, but overall I still enjoyed it and still watch it from time to time. I think the best way to enjoy it is to turn off your brain. I don't know what it is about this movie that does it for me. Maybe it's the kitsch, the Las Vegas setting, and the two silly gay hitmen.

It's obvious Connery only did the movie for the check. He's kind of on autopilot here, but still, he's watchable. Just a shame he aged so much and was out of shape. Plus, that obvious wig ain't fooling anyone. I don't understand why his Bond wasn't more mad at Blofeld. I mean this guy killed his wife and he acts like the most horrific thing he did was take his seat at the dinner table. I mean in some of the scenes they almost appear chummy. What gives?

I will say that Charles Gray is probably the worst Blofeld out of all the actors that portrayed him. He's like some sneering, prissy idiot instead of a major threat that he should be. No reason for Blofeld to have hair considering his previous portrayals didn't have hair. I'll agree that it's mind-boggling on how Blofeld had opportunities to kill Bond and didn't for some reason. How can the most dangerous thing he does to Bond be burying him underground in some pipe? Plus, I don't like how the movie leaves Blofeld's fate ambiguous. Bond could have done more than just smack him around with the crane.

Yeah, the girls in the movie are kind of twits. But for some reason I still find them appealing. Maybe because they're good-looking and have silly names. :P I will defend some of the stuff you mentioned like the car on two wheels and the voice-masking device. Sure, the stunt may not be possible, but I still thought it was cool. The car chase was entertaining if not totally plausible. As for that voice-masking device, well, the earlier Bond movies had their share of unrealstic gadgets. Is this one that far off-base in comparison to previous ones? I mean Thunderball had that jet pack.

You have to admit the fight in the elevator is pretty good. Even though Mr. Wynt and Kiss are incredibly silly, they are entertaining to watch in a guilty-pleasure sort of way. You also have to dig that dialogue between Plenty O' Toole and Bond when they first meet up. :P

Well now that you're in the 1970's Bond period, you have an idea of what you can expect. But it's not all a total loss since you get "The Spy Who Loved Me". Many consider this to be Moore's finest Bond movie. In the meantime, just change your expectations and attitude and you'll be in the 80's and 90's output before you know it.

Oct 28 - 05:52 PM


Chris Kubat

meant to say "Kidd", not "Kiss". Sorry. lol.

Oct 28 - 05:58 PM

~*Admiral Snowstorm*~

Dominique Amsterdam

Strange; Diamonds Are Forever is, without a doubt, my favorite Bond movie. I guess the ridiculousness of it just added to the appeal for me. I don't know.

I was waiting for this day to see what the reaction to this movie would be, and it turns out everybody hates it. Heh. Oh well. I also thought Goldfinger was rather boring, so I guess I'm just not the right kind of Bond fan in the first place.

Oct 28 - 05:52 PM


Chris Kubat

I don't hate Diamonds so you're not alone, *AS*. Sure, it has it's flaws, but I still find it to be a fun ride. You just have to be in the right mindset to enjoy it.

Oct 28 - 05:53 PM


Chris Kubat

I don't hate Diamonds so you're not alone, *AS*. Sure, it has it's flaws, but I still find it to be a fun ride. You just have to be in the right mindset to enjoy it.

Oct 28 - 05:53 PM


Ethan Connolly

I was rolling my eye throughout the majority of this movie, and reading this write-up reminded me why it's one Bond movie I will probably never watch again.

And don't worry, there are a couple Moore films worth watching: The Spy Who Loved Me, For Your Eye Only and I'm one of the few that enjoys watching The Man with the Golden Gun.

Oct 28 - 05:54 PM


Bobby Brown

I hated this movie. I never thought I'd say that about a Bond flick, even the bad ones tend to be enjoyable, but this one I really hated.

However, there's definitely some Roger Moore ones that I like. A few stinkers, sure, but even the bad ones tend to be at least amusing (For Your Eyes Only, The Spy Who Loved Me, and Moonraker all are awesome in their own campy ways).

Oct 28 - 05:55 PM


Chris Kubat

meant to say "Kidd", not "Kiss". Sorry. lol.

Oct 28 - 05:58 PM


RT-Ryan .

buckeyes and sunsaz,
Yep, it bothered me that everything seemed like business as usual for Bond, despite all that happened in OHMSS. I'm not surprised about the way in which Connery returned, based on what I saw in Diamonds. His performance was, unfortunately, largely forgettable for me. Anyone could have done what he did in the role.

Russ K,
Matt, my editor-in-chief, has actually seen all the movies and read all the books as well. He told me pretty much the same thing you wrote, and included that according to his memory, Blofeld's two hitmen were written in such a way that their homosexuality was implied. It's not really spelled out in the movie either, but it's implied, so I guess that's consistent.

Geoff - couldn't help it. Rowlf was the first thing that popped into mind when Mr. Kidd showed up onscreen.

If what I've heard about the Roger Moore movies is true, I think I'm in for a ride. My main problem with Diamonds wasn't that it was silly or campy, it's that it wasn't silly or campy ENOUGH, I suppose. If the Roger Moore films are even worse, I have a feeling they'll cross that threshold and become entertaining again. So, thanks for the encouragement, Windows. I'm sure I'll endure!

Oct 28 - 06:00 PM


Jay Rog

RT Ryan, its really cool that youre doing this, while i am still amazed at the fact that youve never seen a Bond film until you started this. Its a known fact that half the world has so now your apart of the majority. This is the second worst Bond movie ever, the worst has to be A View To A Kill which is the last Roger Moore film (thank god) he was 57 in the movie, which is wayyyyy too old, the only bright spot is Christopher Walken's villian. However your in for a treat with your next movie Live and Let Die, the stunts are great, i liked the villain and action, and theres a record breaking stunt in it for its time, and its a little obvious what it is. Anyways enjoy, i think its awesome what your doing :)

Oct 28 - 07:41 PM


Brandon R

Correct me if I'm wrong, but the stunt I think you're referring to was in The Man With the Golden Gun.

Oct 28 - 07:54 PM


RT-Ryan .

Yikes, you guys respond fast!

Oct 28 - 06:05 PM


sputnik 99

While it's true that Diamonds are Forever is the farthest drop of quality the Bond series goes through, a franchise of such unequaled length is bound to have its ups and downs. The only other steep quality drops are Moonraker and Octopussy, IMO.

Don't be too afraid of the Roger Moore years, Ryan. Those movies don't get bad until the 80's. Some Moore movies are pretty good, although no, they aren't as good as the Connery masterpieces.

Loving this stuff! Keep it up!

Oct 28 - 06:05 PM


Raymond Hopkin

The car on two wheels thingy, what's even more funny is that it goes into the alley way on one set of wheels, then comes out the other end on the other set of wheels! Crazy!

While I have to admit it's Connery's weakest, I still enjoyed it. I always laugh when the gay killers have a little jealous moment on the plane!

I'm surprised that no-one seems to metion Live and Let Die as one of Moores good ones, it's a great action movie.

Something that I've always found funny about Diamonds - the space buggy that was used in the movie was found rusting away on a farmers field in England about 10-15 years back, I remember thinking that I wish I had found that buggy on our farm - how cool would that have been!

And if you think that Connery looks old now - wait for Never Say Never Again, and Moore in Octopussy and A View To A Kill!

Ryan, I think your going to enjoy the Roger movies, as I think you have some idea of whats coming. These are the films I grew up watching - Moonraker was the first movie I saw (on TV at Christmas), my brother claims to be one of the extras in The Spy Who Loved Me (I don't belive him!), I had the "Airfix" model of the Lotus, with working fins etc (wish I had that now, probably get me out of debt!), so I think I have a bit of a soft spot for Roger - I hope you enjoy them, escpecially his first five.

Oct 28 - 06:37 PM

Steve R.

Steve Rusk

If you watch that car chase scene again you'll notice that once the car is up on two wheels they cut to a close up shot of Bond and Tiffany inside the car. Looking past them and through the rear window you'll see the rear screen projection image of the alley tilting from one angle to the other. This explains how the car went into a narrow alley on the right wheels and came out on the left wheels. In the middle of the narrow alley Bond was able to tip the Mustang onto the opposite wheels. It makes perfect a BUGS BUNNY cartoon!

Oct 28 - 11:01 PM


Isotonic ****off

The law of diminishing returns (watching so many, so closely together) combined with the general downward slide in quality of these movies means you're in for a LONG ride ahead. You probably should have watched them in reverse order so they got better and better :)

You'll need to stop expecting plot constancy, continuity or realism to get any enjoyment at all out of the rest of the series. Seriously, re-evaluate your expectations and try to have fun.

If a car on two wheels is too much, there's absolutely no hope. This is James Bond!!

Oct 28 - 06:43 PM


christopher cantos

gud luck Ryan... You won't be seeing anymore good bond films for a long time... Diamonds is much better than any bond moore has done(except Spy who loved me), but diamonds still sucks!..

golden eye is still a long way so you won't probably see a satisfying bond film for quite some time...

ps. Casino Royale is still one of the best bond film(others are from russia, goldfinger, thunderball, dr. no)

Oct 28 - 06:50 PM

Timothy Michael Makepeace

Tim Makepeace

This is only the tip of the iceberg for the 70s films. Get ready for some wacky over the top material with Roger Moore!

Oct 28 - 07:06 PM

Zombies happen.

Serpent T Rainbow

from here on out the only similarity the books have to the movies are the titles and the name of the main characters, (sometimes)

Oct 28 - 07:14 PM

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